Source: Elise Amendola/AP
The preseason is over and now it's time for some real football. Week 1 of the NFL saw a lot of great football. Upsets, comebacks, and a crazy finish in the Saints-Texans Monday Nighter. Here are my 5 takeaways from the NFL's first official week of the regular season.
1. The Browns Are Still The Browns
The Cleveland Browns had a lot of positive things coming off of 2018. They were one of the hottest teams down the stretch and their rookie QB Baker Mayfield was getting better and more confident with each passing game. With the addition of star receiver Odell Beckham, Cleveland now had an offence with some explosive players to go with their seemingly sturdy defence. However, the Browns looked like the typical Cleveland Browns we’re used to seeing after losing by 30 points to the Tennessee Titans in their own stadium. Mayfield threw 3 interceptions and also a pick six late in the 4th quarter, Beckham Jr. had 71 yards on 7 catches but failed to score. The Browns will have to get back to work in Week 2 as they play the New York Jets in next week's Monday nighter.
2. The Patriots Are Still The Patriots
Was there any doubt that the Patriots wouldn't start the season with a bang? The Pats coming off with their sixth championship title for the franchise gave the Steelers headaches all game long. Tom Brady is 5-0 all time against the Steelers at home and by the end of the game he'd keep his perfect record intact. He threw 3 td's with no interceptions, completing 24 of 36 passes. The Patriots defence shutdown the Steelers giving up just 3 points, forcing Big Ben out of his rhythm and stopped Steelers running back James Connor as well. The Steelers looked like a shell of themselves without Brown or Bell on the team, but the Patriots looked their old selves and will likely have another deep run this season, oh did I mention they got Antonio Brown too?
3. The AB Saga
Speaking of Antonio Brown we look at what will go down as one of the best players to ever wear an Oakland Raiders jersey. All joking aside though, “AB” has been in the headlines non-stop since last season. The spat with teammate Ben Roethlisberger late last season had Brown benched for the final game in a crucial week 17 game that still had the Steelers in playoff contention. It seems that drama carried over to his now former team, the Raiders. Frozen feet, an old helmet, and a "disagreement" with GM Mike Mayock has led to the releasing of Brown. Oh and we can’t forget the short film containing a private convo with himself and John Gruden. $250,000 and a Hard Knox series later, Brown is now a Patriot. What a scary time.
4. Lamar Jackson Can Throw?
It wasn't Lamar Jackson's arm people were mesmerized by last season, but rather his ability to run. Jackson ran for almost 700 yards in seven starts which led all quarterbacks. Critics were quick to point to Jackson’s lack of throwing ability and accuracy as an area of concern with the young QB completing only 58 percent of his passes. However, against the lowly Dolphins Jackson had a perfect QB rating with a career high 324 yards in the air. Even more impressive was an 85 percent completion percentage. It's only against the Dolphins, who will contend for worst team in 2019, but maybe this is the beginning of a big sophomore season.
5. Rookie Comeback In Detroit
A tie in the NFL doesn't happen often, and often times it isn’t celebrated. However, when your rookie QB erases an 18 point gap in the 4th quarter you can get a little excited. Murray was getting bounced around all game, getting sacked 5 times in the game. The Cardinals offence for was nowhere to be found for three quarters but the rookie didn't give up and worked some magic.They scored on all of their 3 drives, and the no.1 pick completed 15 of his 19 throwing two touchdowns. With 47 seconds left Murray threw it to Larry Fitzgerald for the touchdown and then converted the two-point conversion to tie it up. Neither team was able to get the victory but Murray showed resilience and poise. The Lions blew it big time and the rookie came out looking like a winner